Geography Maps and Terms

A book containing maps and charts.
compass rose
A compass rose is a design on a map that
shows direction. It points which way is north,
south, east, west, and some intermediate
directions on the map.
Latitude is the angular
distance north or south from
the equator to a particular
location. The equator has a
latitude of zero degrees. The
North Pole has a latitude of
90 degrees North; the South
Pole has a latitude of 90
degrees South.
Longitude is the angular distance
east or west from the north-south
line that passes through
Greenwich, England, to a particular
location. Greenwich, England has a
longitude of zero degrees. The
farther east or west of Greenwich
you are, the greater your
longitude. The Midway Islands (in
the Pacific Ocean) have a longitude
of 180 degrees (they are on the
opposite side of the globe from
The equator is an imaginary circle around the
earth, halfway between the north and south
prime meridian
The prime meridian (0
degrees longitude) is the
meridian that passes
through Greenwich,
The key of a map (also called the
legend) is a small table
accompanying the map that
explains the symbols that are
used on the map.
political map
A political map is a map that shows
cultural features, like the political
boundaries of countries, states,
provinces, and cities.
physical map
A physical map is a map that shows
an areas natural physical features,
like mountains, lakes, and rivers.
Thematic maps: emphasize a particular
theme (such as rainfall, life expectancy).
They are different from other maps because
they don’t just show rivers, cities, countries,
states, etc.
relief map
A relief map is a
topographic map that
uses different colors or
shades to indicate
An archipelago is a group or chain of islands
clustered together in a sea or ocean. EX:
Hawaii, Japan, Galapagos Islands, Indonesia.
An atoll is a ring (or
partial ring) of coral
that forms an island
in an ocean or sea.
Examples: Bikini
Atoll, Midway Atoll.
A bay is a body of
water that is partly
enclosed by land (and
is usually smaller
than a gulf).
A cape is a pointed piece of land that sticks
out into a sea, ocean, lake, or river. Ex: Cape
Cod, MA. , Cape Town/ Cape Point, South
A channel is a narrow body of water that
connects two larger bodies of water (like the
English Channel). A channel is also a part of a
river or harbor that is deep enough to let
ships sail through.
A delta is a low, watery land formed at
the mouth of a river. It in the river and
are deposited in the delta. A delta is
often is formed from the silt, sand and
small rocks that flow downstream (but
not always) shaped like a triangle (hence
its name, delta, a Greek letter that is
shaped like a triangle).
A gulf is a part of the ocean (or sea) that is
partly surrounded by land (it is usually larger
than a bay).
An island is a piece of
land that is
surrounded by water.
A peninsula is a body of
land that is surrounded
by water on three sides
A river is a large, flowing body of water that
usually empties into a sea or ocean.
A strait is a narrow body
of water that connects
two larger bodies of

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